I fancied myself a rake and played the part very well. My digs were a discretely sized, though still impressive homage to Hampton Court, somewhat removed from public view, down a winding alley flanked by large, dense oak trees. Chelsea was quite the place in those days, filled with, jewel box estates for the well born and what the French would call the haute bourgeois ... le tre haute bourgeois... A Hollywood on the Thames two hundred and fifty years before that California enclave was born. But more about local atmosphere later.
We tore down dark suburban roads on the fine Arabians 'borrowed' from the Asgood stables. I led the way with a torch snatched from the entrance to some public pleasure ground (usually a park with fountains, a concert stand and beer garden). My mates fell in single file (aristocrats do know to ride), as we snaked down the path toward my place...[if anyone sees this now, please know that I don't have time to post the whole thing at once and am putting it up when I can.... clicked the wrong button... it should have remained a draft... but I ain't so button smart.... Jonathon (whose story this is) paces back and forth, lecturing me --- Don't I know how to do it right after all this time?!.... I say - Don't make me nervous... He gives me a look, takes an iced vodka and stomps off to his 'dark room.'.... We're in the cellar below the basement. .. no natural light here.... finished off little rooms and cubicles... juvenile vampirina, Annie, comes down to play Vampire Barbies and video games.... Jonathon cruises Google and listens to music... What?... you think they sleep all day?... they don't.... Sarah watches HGTV.... Conrad (the vampire who like Dockers 'slacks') is hooked on Game Show Network...It's a mental hospital.... Edith, our Jersey Pine Barrens, witchy woman, housekeeper is mortal like me (Billy)... She sits upstairs in the kitchen at the granite breakfast bar doing seek and find puzzles and eating tuna fish... Conrad says -- Jeez, what's with you? You're the tuna fish queen.... She goes -- Yeah, it's my 'blood.' Leave me alone...... Now I have to take a break and do some chores and errands. More posting later and #ff stuff too.... Wow... How'd I find enough time to post all this red stuff?]...
As we approached the entrance, I vaulted from the horse, threw the reigns to Mudo, my telepathic groom of indiscriminate background. The Brigands did the same. Mudo whistled. Their mounts froze till other stable boys appeared to lead them away. The torch, lying on the ground, instantaneously vanished (I can do that sometimes). Molecular manipulation is not that hard. Of course that term did not exist back then, but we managed.
My staff prepared everything for wee hour returns. The lights are low... a few candles here and there... bottles of gin left to chill in ice-filled silver buckets, placed where I can find them... dried apple blossom petals sprinkled onto the grate in the 'little' salon to scent the room... The 'little' salon was our place, a dim, octagonal, library-like space. Book shelves lined the walls, save for the expanse above the hearth. A portrait of some Tudor gentleman hung there. I think I culled him once. I can't remember.
We collapsed into the chairs, large, upholstered 'Roman' thrones. If you've seen what President Lincoln occupies in his memorial you know what I mean. Each 'Brigand' had his favorite place... five seats casually arranged around a small table. I found the bucket, grabbed the icy bottle of gin, a new distilled spirit, originally intended as a balm for the poor, but eagerly guzzled by the rich as well and poured five libations into the heavy, pale green glasses.
Sir Jeffrey downed a mouthful and began to laugh. His father, a baron, had no secondary title to give him, but managed to buy the young blood a baronetcy, thus the 'sir.'
He said - The noise. The chanting. I can't shake it. That sound. Is that how they do it? Just the sound? Just the vibrations? I saw a castrato shatter a goblet last season in Venice. Is that what it is?
I just shrugged......
Tantric magic - sighed Master Jeremy. Did you see the body? No, of course you did.... Then he retched and vomited all over the inlaid stone floor.
Two housemaids instantly appeared to clean up the mess, as we sat there in silence.....